tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC November 12, 2012 1:00pm-2:00pm EST
we're joined by senate finance committee chair, diane finestein, as new details about the fbi's investigation and key players emerge. >> we received no advanced notice. it was like a lightning bolt. the way i found out, i came back to washington thursday night. friday morning, the staff director told me there were a number of calls from press about this. i called david petraeus. >> some of petraeus' former military aides tell nbc news, they were uncomfortable with biographer paula broadwell's access to the general. >> i thought this was a little bit strange, that he would take someone who's never written a book and allow them such unfettered access and allow them to write what is really the first biography. cliff talks. president obama reaches out to business and labor to rally support for his plan to raise taxes on the rich. are republicans and democrats any closer to making a deal? >> we've had votes in the senate
where we've actually gotten rid of tax credits. i think that's a given. and i think that the vast majority of americans agree with that. the question is, how do you do that? >> we need the republicans to do in 2012 what we did in 2010. we hear the mandate, continue to cut spending. but they have to hear the mandate, real revenues, not this kind of stuff like dynamic scoring. >> let me follow up on that. and paying tribute. the president and the first lady honor the fallen heroes at arlington national cemetery, section 60, dedicated to americans who have died in iraq and afghanistan. >> a proud nation expresses our gratitude, but we do so mindful that no ceremony or parade, no hug or handshake is enough to truly honor that service. for that, we must do more. for that, we must commit this day and every day to serving you
as well as you've served us. good day. i'm andrea mitchell, live in washington, where the resignation of david petraeus because of an acknowledged extramarital affair is shaking the intelligence community to its foundations. let's move through the course of events. on november 2nd, the fbi concluded after the final interview given by paula broadwell that there was no basis for criminal charges. officials tell nbc news that national intelligence director james clapper was told about the investigation the following week, on election day. clapper informed the white house the next day. officials say it was not until thursday, november 8th, however, that president obama was first notified and met with petraeus, who then offered to resign. the president accepted that resignation on friday, the same day that leaders of the house and senate committees first learned of the affair. diane finestein joins me now.
congressman, why did you and your colleague on the house de not know about this for all of these months? >> because a decision was made somewhere not to brief us, which is atypical. generally, what we call the four corners, the chair and rankings of both committees are briefed on operationally sensitive matters. this is certainly an operationally sensitive matter. but we weren't briefed. i don't know who made that decision. and i think that makes it much more difficult. i think it has to be said, too, that we have never violated that requirement by releasing any information on matters on which we are briefed. so there was no backstory as to why we wouldn't be. so it is very puzzling and i think was a mistake, because this thing just came so fast and so hard. and since then, it's been like peeling an onion. every day, another peel comes
off, and you see a whole new dimension to this. so my concern has actually escalated over the last few days, and we're putting in place a process, meeting with the committee, spelling out that process, and beginning in two days, three days. >> and in meeting with the committee, republicans and democrats on the senate committee, you want to know, and you want to know from your colleagues, because you work collectively, you want to know why the fbi did not inform you that an investigation that had started separately, with no mention of david petraeus, had morphed, by the fbi, into an investigation that at least for a while, included the possibility of national security secrets. and the cia director. and you were never informed. >> not only that, but an fbi agent, apparently, took it upon himself to go to members of the house and tell them.
and this was outside of the general line of information. and that's deeply disturbing. so i will take a look at that to too. >> let my circle back to that. the fbi agent who had initially been contacted by this woman who was a friend of the petraeus' family, jill kelly in tampa, this fbi agent who knew her, so she went to him as far as our reporting is concerned, she went to him and asked for help. she was getting e-mails that were of concern to her, harassing or threatening e-mails. this is jill kelly, whose husband and the petraeuses has been friends for more than five years -- >> well, this is all news to me. see, we were not told this. this is the first time i've learned of this. so that makes me think, how many other things are there, too? >> well, and from what our reporting, from my colleagues, pete williams, michael isikoff and i from other sources are reporting is that this agent was then taken off the case because of supposedly inappropriate
behavior. he then was concerned at some point that the investigation was not proceeding, he was perhaps thinking there was a cover-up. and he went to the house members. so it was actually eric cantor, the majority leader, who was told about this, at least ten days before the president of the united states. how does that happen? and before you? >> well, that shouldn't have happened. and we need to get to the bottom of it. if it is, as you describe, then i think disciplinary action is in order. but i can't prejudge it. and, you know, i have great respect for you, but we have to find this out as fact and evidence. >> is there anything to this that could involve the rivalry, past rivalries, that have been repaired, we have been told, between the fbi and the cia? >> oh, i don't believe that's true. in all my ten years, 11, 12 years on the committee, i haven't seen any such rivalry. >> and what would be the premise
for investigating david petraeus? >> the premise is not necessarily an investigation. the premise is to see exactly what happened. i believe that director petraeus made a trip to the region, shortly before this became public. >> to libya? >> yes. >> i believe that there is a trip report. we have asked to see the trip report. one person tells me he has read it, and then we tried to get it and they tell me it hasn't been done. that's unacceptable. we are entitled to this trip report and if we have to go to the floor of the senate on a subpoena, we will do just that. >> you're suggesting that you might have to subpoena from the intelligence community a trip report that david petraeus made after going to libya within the last two -- >> yes. for the very reason that it may have some very relevant information to what happened in
benghazi. >> that's the other piece of this. do you think there's anything to the conspiracy theorists who have suggested that his resignation over this extramarital affair and behavior that he says was not acceptable behavior, a mistake that he made in his personal life, do you think there's any connection at all to benghazi? >> no. i've seen none so far. now, again, as i said, you know, the skin of the onion is getting peeled off. we don't know what we may find. and that's why i think it's very important that we begin, that we have an orderly process, that we not jeopardize anyone's rights, that we be respectful, that some of our investigation and inquiry is done in closed session. some will be done in open session. and we need to make those decisions with the entire committee membership. and i hope to do that late tomorrow afternoon. >> since he did the fact checking himself on this trip, shouldn't he testify on thursday as originally scheduled? >> well, i think we should go
ahead with mike morrell and the way it is now set up. but i also think that the community should know that this is not sufficient. and i have no doubt now that we will need to talk with david petraeus. and we will likely do that in closed session. but it will be done, one way or the other. >> there's a lot of speculation now about paula broadwell, and what she said, in particular, in a speech in denver, where she claimed to have classified information that the motive for the attack on the consulate and the annex in benghazi was to free some libyan militia prisoners who were being held by the cia in benghazi. do you have any information about that? >> no, my staff has checked and they were told that this isn't correct, this isn't true. we'll see. this is something that we need to check out and check out carefully and we will.
>> what about the fact that she appeared to have classified information. is there some way that she would have classified information, other than what she might have gotten from general petraeus, which the fbi says did not happen. the fbi has cleared him of sharing any classified information with her. >> i believe that's correct. i do not know how she got that information. we should find out. i don't know why. it's a rather confused situation, because at one point she was an army reservist, doing intelligence-related work. at the same time, she was doing a journalist's work, a biography on david petraeus. it seems to me these two things don't go together. it seems to me that somebody that becomes active military should not be writing a book at the same time. and the fact of the matter is, that she's out making speeches about this. now, it's against the law to have classified information on your personal computer.
we've lost a cia director in the past, just because of this. >> john deutsche. >> that's correct. >> who was briefly cia director during the clinton years. some people are asking me, this is a layman's question, that comes to us, how could the cia director, who has such security, be operating in this extramarital affair, how could he have the privacy for this to have happened? >> oh, well, people find ways. that's all i can say. people find ways. and it happens over and over and over again. >> and in terms of paula broadwell, will you want to call her as a witness as well? >> we'll see. i don't know at this time. again, things change day by day. >> is your primary concern now benghazi, what happened there, the intelligence failures that could have taken place there? >> the primary concern, andrea, is to see if there's a national security connection.
if there is, what is it? secondly, was there an intelligence failure? to some respect, if you ask me right now, based on what i've seen, i would have to say, yes. >> benghazi. >> benghazi. >> and that's the timeline of the response and the change from the original talking points, which said it was a likely demonstration, to a terrorist attack ten days later. i don't know what took them ten days to figure that out, candidly. and that's a problem. so i want to know what the process is for decision making in this case. why it moves so slowly. and why the initial statement didn't get corrected more quickly. >> you also, certainly, have questions about why attacks. there were five separate attacks in benghazi, around the consulate, in the area of the consulate. so these were not threat warnings. these were literally attacks.
>> that's right. let me run through them. this is in the five months before the attack. on april 6th, a small explosive called a fish bomb was thrown over the wall at the consulate. on april the 10th, four days later, explosives hit convoy of head of u.n. mission in benghazi. may 22nd, an rpg attack on the international red cross building in benghazi. on june 6th, an ied attack on our own consulate, this consulate, in benghazi. on june 11th, an rpg attack on the british ambassador's convoy in benghazi. now, how dispositive is that as to whether terrorists are active in the area? i would say, with certainty, it is dispositive. and therefore, the way i see it, this was clearly a terrorist attack, the minute you knew they had rpgs and mortars.
and i think john mccain said that very early on. and he was dead-on. it's just a fact. so, i mean, who else is doing this kind of thing with mortars and rpgs? >> some of your senate colleagues are suggesting a joint house senate committee like the iran contra committee, like the 9/11 commission. can this be handled by the senate intelligence committee and the house intelligence committee? >> oh, it certainly could be. we work very well together. the four corners meet, we discuss. i've had no proposal to that. i'd certainly be open to the proposal. you don't want to make it so big that it's a problem, but on the other hand, this has to be bipartisan and it should be bicamer bicameral, i would think. so i'm open to the suggestion. >> and returning, finally, to the resignation of david petraeus, how badly damaged is the cia and our intelligence community by this? >> well, the cia is going to go
on. and the cia will recover. this is a professional organization. it's a strong organization. the number two is very good. he will take over and take over quickly. and then, hopefully, the president will make an appointment, and that will fill the gap and things will go on. >> and finally, you've said that you should have been told earlier. should the president have been told earlier? >> oh, yes. absolutely. absolutely. you know, you cannot keep these things from the people who hold the responsibility for oversight. you have to know. what if something else happened and this never came to light and then down the path, something resulted from it? >> thank you so very much. >> you're very welcome. >> senator dianne feinstein, and we'll be right back. their name on the door, and their heart into their community. small business saturday is a day to show our support.
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and joining me now, nbc's justice correspondent, pete williams, and nbc's white house correspondent, kristen welker at the white house. pete, first to you. you just heard senator feinstein saying that she wants answers from the fbi. why she was not informed, while mike rogers, the house chairman, who is a former fbi agent, was not informed. why the president of the united states was not informed. what is the fbi saying about this? >> well, i think they freely admit that there are no hard and fast rules for when you notify anybody else in the government that a senior intelligence official is having an affair. the general rule, and what their basic policy is, they don't tell anybody. when they're in the middle of a criminal investigation, who they're investigating. whether it's, you know, somebody in the white house or anybody. they just don't blab around town who they're investigating. now, there's a policy question here, obviously, about whether members of the intelligence committee should have been informed. they say there's a potential national security implications. the fbi and the justice department say they determined
early on there weren't national security implications, that this was, at its core, not a crime, an affair. and the other thing about this is, that the fbi is sensitive to its own history, about a time when j. edgar hoover shepherded the peccadillos of official washington and parceled these things out in order to angrandize the february. and they're sensitive to all of that. they think they did the right thing here. >> what about, kristen welker at the white house, is there any idea that the president should have been notified sooner? >> at this point, they're not publicly questioning the president's decision. they're underlying the point that pete is making, which is that there was no knowledge of any criminal activity. but certainly, they are reviewing this process. they're concerned about the fact that this came out, you know, the day after election day, and so, they're certainly reviewing
what happened, and stunned that this has occurred at all. one person saying that this certainly wasn't what they were expecting to be dealing with in the days and weeks after election day. >> and when eric cantor first learned about this, and he, from all reports, the majority leader, and this is just before the election, he, by october 31st, had learned about this, from this fbi agent, let's talk more about that. this is the agent that has initially contacted by jill kelly in tampa about e-mails that were of concern to her. and she happened to know this fbi agent socially. >> that's right. >> they were friends. >> so he helped her launch this investigation. >> he was at the very center of it. and then at some point along, he realizes that it points to the possibility that the cia director is having an affair with the sender of the e-mails. and then he is sidelines in the investigation. the bureau is concerned about his conduct, so he's now out of the loop, and he's watching the pages of the calendar flip along, and he thinks, you know, nobody's doing anything here.
so he's the one who calls congress, unaware the fbi says, that in fact, the investigation was still on track. >> and the majority leader operated absolutely appropriately, from all reports. because what he did was contacted the fbi director's office through his chief of staff, to say, we are, you know, being questioned about this. and he was told, it's all under control. and didn't proceed, as far as anyone knows, with any politicization of it. >> right. in terms of people in the government, i think the only people that anyone has said definitely did the wrong things, were david petraeus, who had an affair and shouldn't have. the fbi believes they did the right thing. i think there is a policy question about whether somebody else should have been informed. but i don't think at this point anyone is claiming that the fbi failed to fully and energetically investigate this. >> no, but there are questions, which you heard dianne feinstein
is talking about, that members of congress were very perturbed that they were not notified. and michael morrell has now been asked by the president to be the acting director of central intelligence. is he likely to head the cia long-term or is there talk about a replacement? >> reporter: well, look, i think it's a real possibility. this is someone who president obama has a great amount of faith in. this is someone who was briefing him regularly, during the planning process of the takedown of osama bin laden. someone who has over 30 years experience and service with this cia. so the white house has sort of underscored the fact that they have an immense amount of confidence in mike morrell, and he is certainly one of the people being considered as a permanent replacement. andrea? >> kristen welker, who's been reporting on this all weekend, and pete williams, as well. all of your reporting from the law enforcement. what a great team. thank you very much, both of you.
and congress is back tomorrow, while all of this is happening, back from its election break, just in time to deal with the challenge to find a way to avoid the fiscal cliff. joining me now, chris cillizza. so the election is over and things are calmed down. what more is there to do? the signals from john boehner, the speaker of the house, are that he's got some more leverage with his republican caucus than he had back in the day, and that there is talk of coming up with more revenue. maybe not calling it a tax increase, not a rate increase, but finding some way to raise some more money. >> right. you know, andrea, i hate to sound an optimistic note when it comes to politics, but i do think the signals coming out of john boehner's sort of world, and out of president obama's statement last week is that there can be some common ground here, that president obama, i think, clearly has some leverage
due to what happened in the, in his own race, as well as at the senate level. so i think he has that. and then john boehner, i think a little bit more questionable in how much more leverage he has within his own caucus, but we shall see. if both of them can sort of say, look, let's do this, this is important to the country, let's move on, we can disagree about lots of other things, but we're going to compromise and move forward. whether that compromise is not raising the rates, but finding a way to get people, the top 1% of earners to pay more without raising their rates and having that conversation early next year, we're not sure what it is. but i think at this stage, it's important to kind of read the tone and how they look and sound and i think that suggests compromise. >> and of course, the debt ceiling also has to be raised in the not too distant future. but then again, in the days leading up to this summit on friday, where the president and the house leaders, both sides
are going to be meeting at the white house, there you've got grover norquist. this was grover norquist on cbs this morning. >> well, we just had an election, and the house of representatives was elected, committed to keeping taxes low. the president was committed, elected on the basis that he was not romney and that romney was a poopy head and you should vote against romney. and he won by two points. but he didn't make the case that we should have higher taxes and higher spending. he kind of sounded like the opposite. >> i'm not sure whether that was grover norquist or grover from "sesame street," when we're talking about -- >> ahh, poopy head. look, grover represents a very specific view within the republican party, which is -- whether it's rates or something, you should not raise taxes ever. the question is, this is -- i think a lot of it is on john boehner and mitch mcconnell. can they say to the base of the party, we need to make this deal. it is good for us politically. it is good for the country policy wise, and we need to move on, or do the grovers of the world win out?
>> david, thank you very much. chris cillizza. coming up, more fallout from the david petraeus situation. we'll talking to david ignatius. hey sis, it's so great to see you. you, too! oh, cloudy glasses. you didn't have to come over! actually, honey, i think i did... oh? you did? whoa, ladies, easy. hi. cascade kitchen counselor. we can help avoid this with cascade complete pacs. over time, the other premium pac can leave cloudy, hard water deposits, but cascade complete pacs help leave glasses sparkling. shiny!
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[ male announcer ] the spark business card from capital one. choose unlimited rewards with 2% cash back or double miles on every purchase, every day! what's in your wallet? the intelligence community is still taking in what is a stunning fall from grace for general david petraeus. joining me now is david ignatius, with "the washington post," who's covered the intelligence community and knows the general very well here, and overseas. did you see any sign of this? and how is the cia reacting to what has happened? >> well, taking those in turn, general petraeus has always been a person who was just intense and focused and, you know, you done get to be a four-star general without being a man who's in command, a man or woman who's in command, and he was. since he came back and took the cia job, he loosened up a little bit. he didn't have as big a staff to
manage. he was, you know, relaxed and doing more comfortable socializing. so it was a somewhat different persona. like anybody who has traveled with general petraeus and known him, i've seen paula broadwell over the last three or four years, when she was working on her dissertation about general petraeus. she interviewed many people who had worked with him and journalists who had covered him, and i was one of them, so i remember spending more than an hour talking to her. she was doing that work. >> was she knowledgeable? >> well, she was studio. she was a hard working person who wanted to master the details of petraeus' life. she wasn't a supple intellect, and as some of my colleagues at "the washington post" wrote in a first-rate story we published yesterday, there was some surprise, i remember hearing, from people around general
petraeus that somebody wasn't intellectually person of petraeus's depth and breadth. petraeus had got a doctorate from princeton for doing really outstanding work. but paula broadwell was a more workman like person. so it was a little bit of a surprise. that anybody in the world of biography would wanted to write that book and how did she become to be the writer? people wondered that. people scratched their heads. she was also quite demanding. i remember that about her visits to kabul. the staff knew that they were really going to have to work hard. but that, i think, was, in her time, would only say she was a biographer, doesn't appears to have been any additional involvement there. >> i want to play a little more of benghazi. senator feinstein just told me of some of her concerns. let's watch. >> i believe that director petraeus made a trip of region,
shortly before this became public. i believe that there is a trip report. we have asked to see the trip report. one person tells me he has read it. and then we tried to get it. and they tell me it hasn't been done. that's unacceptable. we are entitled to this trip report. and if we have to go to the floor of the senate on a subpoena, we will do just that. >> she wants to know what he learned on this trip to benghazi, to libya, and she's told that there is a trip report of this and now she's told there isn't. another serious question coming out. >> it's interesting, certainly, at the time last, right before the election, when the benghazi issue came to a head, it was known that general petraeus was traveling ing ing ing abroad, he was in egypt. the trip report, i don't know what sort of paperwork they filed. the only thing that surprises me in senator feinstein's tone is,
our cia directors don't work for congress. they work for the president. and if there was anybody who should be receiving information about the travels of the cia director, it's the president and the national security counsel. congress has an oversight role, which is important. and that oversight -- >> but the context was the benghazi investigation that they are holding the hearings on. >> i understand that. it's just that there was a sort of -- i understand that, and given all the questions about benghazi, i'm glad that congress is looking at it. i'm just saying that over the last, you know, years, sometimes in statements by senior members of the intelligence committees, you get the feeling almost that they think the cia director and the intelligence community work for them, and they don't. >> well, they have oversight. and i think -- >> they have oversight, but there's a difference. >> but in this case, i think there is, what you can tell, when she was first questioned a
couple of days ago, she was very, very supportive, but as things have unfolded, i think all of the people in leadership on the hill are very concerned about the timeline here. let me move on and ask you one more question about benghazi. because there's a lot of confusion about what paula broadwell said in a speech in denver, that the reason or one of the motives for the attack could have been that the cia was holding libyan prisoners, militia prisoners, in the cia annex, something the cia has now denied. is there any way to figure out what's going on there? >> i haven't -- i have not heard that. and that's something worth reporting out, if it's been stated. what i do know is that the cia operation in benghazi was substantial in size, in part because of a mission that general petraeus had focused on personally, which was trying to collect the so-called man pads, the shoulder-fired anti-aircraft
missiles that are so dangerous, that gadhafi had bought in huge numbers. and other weapons that gadhafi had bought that the cia was trying to round up. so some of the personnel who were there were involved in that mission. and i think that expanded the size of the operation there, beyond what you would normally have in a second city, in a country like libya. there's so many, as you know, andrea, i just want to say, your reporting has led the way on this story, but as you know, there are so many conspiracy theories floating around about every aspect, touching on petraeus, benghazi, the lengths, the political overlay, and it's important for us, as journalists, to make sure we remind you viewers what we know and what we really don't know. and in this case, i can't tell you anything about prisoners. i can tell you, because i'm confident that i know, that there was an extensive operation to round up these weapons that have come loose. >> thank you so much. well said.
thanks, david. and up next, lame ducks, just how much can get done with only 16 days left on the calendar. plus, commemorating veterans day. stay with us. [ male announcer ] when was the last time something made your jaw drop? campbell's has 24 new soups that will make it drop over, and over again. ♪ from jammin' jerk chicken, to creamy gouda bisque. see what's new from campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do.
petraeus controversy has almost overshadowed the business of congress and the white house. republicans facing post-election blues. the white house trying to come up with its own playbook for the lame duck session and the second term that lies ahead. here with me, steve elmdorf and michael steele, former republican chairman, both joining me now. first of all, what are we hearing from the speaker and bill kristol saying, well, you can maybe raise taxes on the rich. some of them live in hollywood anyway. >> it's like a new day in washington, right? >> this like the cement cracking around ronald reagan's feet, the first time he raised taxes. i remember when he said that. >> yes, exactly. well, i think the speaker, i think, is setting the tone, as you saw on the front page, above the fold in "the washington
post," you know. call his caucus to task, saying he's got to get the nation's business done. and i think what he said implicitly and probably directly behind the door is, trust me on this. you know, i get it. i understand what we need to do. we're not going to sacrifice our principles and values, but we've got to get the nation's business done. and then when we have a bill kristol coming out and saying, you know, they're all rich guys who live out in hollywood. we can raise their taxes. what an 180-degree turn. >> they're not the small business men. >> you'll probably note this, what an election will do. winning and losing has a consequence. and i think for a lot of republicans right now, given where we were two years ago versus where we are right now, you realize, hey, we're going to have to deal. we're going to have to deal. >> what about the president? is he ready to deal? is he ready to be more proactive? >> i think you're going to see -- >> in getting to know members of congress and getting to sort of -- >> i think he's going to be very proactive about getting a deal. i think he realizes that he needs this deal before he can do
anything else. we have some other big issues on the table like immigration reform, and he can't get to those until he gets these fiscal issues off the table. they were so close last time to a deal. we've had an election, people made a choice, and i think he thinks the time is very rife to do it. and you'll see. he'll meet with business leaders and congressional leaders. i think he'll be very active and out on the road and will be selling this message. >> is it an inside game or outside game? is it working with congress or going out there and saying, i got burned? >> i don't think he's going out of the country to beat up on congress. i think he's going out to remind them of the discussion we just had and the choices we made and ask them to remind their members of congress what they want to do. the polling is very clear about what the american people think we ought to do here. >> and michael steele, florida. we've got the results. now it's clear that, you know, not only is florida in the president's corner, but importantly, he won the cuban
american vote, not just the puerto rican, you know, other hispanic communities in central florida. but he won the cuban american vote. >> that was solidly republican for generations. >> since the bay of pigs. >> since the bay of pigs. talk about that crack around reagan's feet. and i think that this campaign in so many respects is an eye opener about the broadening of our party. and as i said when i was national chairman, the republican party has to get outside of its comfort zone. we can no longer sit in spaces and meet with people that we like and are comfortable or who will, you know, toe the line for us. we need to go out into the world and realize how much of it has changed. and if you don't think we're in a changing environment, as you just noeted, when you're losing the cuban vote in florida, that's a brand-new day in american politics for the gop. >> they should have been listening to you. michael steele and steve elmendorf, thank you very much.
and this veterans day marnt the fuirst time in a decade in which there are no soldiers fighting in iraq. >> this 9/11 generation that stepped forward after the towers fell and in the years sense have stepped into history. running one of the greatest chapters of military service our country has ever known. tour after tour, year after year, you and your families have done all that this country has asked. you've done that and more. >> joseph carnes goodwin is a member of that post-9/11 generation that served in iraq and afghanistan and joins me now from boston. joe, great to see you. tell me about what made you want to serve and you did two tours, i think? >> that's right. one in iraq and one in afghanistan. >> and one in afghanistan. you, obviously, we've known for you for a long time. your parents, doris kearns goodwin, and your father, of
course, are well known to many of us. but you were unusual coming out of harvard. what about your -- the men and women with whom you served and how they are readjusting to life back home. >> absolutely. i think there's no doubt that the six years on active duty, over the course of eight that i spent in the army was incredibly valuable. i got a lot more out of it than i put in, because i got to serve with a group of men and women whose dedication to duty, honor, and country, their dedication was so inspiring. and i think there has been a trough transition for a lot of people coming home from these conflicts. you know, it's not just sort of the things you have to see or the actions you have to take, but it's also the fact that while you're in the army, you're part of this incredible organization, where people have worked for a common purpose, share a common language, and then all of a sudden, you get back home and you have nothing around you that really knows how to make, understand that. and so, like, for instance, when
i went to afghanistan, i was in kabul, afghanistan one day, and concord, massachusetts, the next. that's a pretty jarring transition. but i do think that there is a realization right now among a lot of people, both civilian and military, that we need to make sure that we're servicing our veterans. not only making sure they're supported while they're overseas, but also servicing is them when they come home as well. >> a very important lesson on veterans day and every day. it's great to see you home safe and sound, and the lessons that we've learned from you are very, very important. thank you. >> well thank you very much. it was my honor to serve and my privilege to be on your show today. >> well, the honor is all ours in having you. thank you, joe. up next, lessons learned. david fromme on the takeaways for republicans in 2012. this is "andrea mitchell reports," only on msnbc. by making it without 100% real cheddar cheese. but then...it wouldn't be stouffer's mac & cheese. just one of over 70 satisfying recipes for one
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joining me now, david fromme, contributing editor at "newsweek" and the daily beast. and author of the "newsweek" ebook, "why romney lost and what the gop can do about it." so is it all lessons learned and now we're going to compromise and we're going to expand and reach out to hispanics and women and not talk about rape and done deal? rape and done deal? >> the social issues are not the primary problem. the primary problem is an economic message that does not resonate with the middle class. back in the 1980s the tax burden on ordinary middle class people doubled in the 1970s. in 1980 if you said you would cut taxes, that message had power. today 80% of americans pay more in payroll tax than income tax, and the tax cut as the whole of the economic message doesn't resonate in aa world of stagnant wages, rising health care costs and rising college tuition costs. if you don't have answers on that, you're not talking to america. >> they have to get the economic
message. is there any sign that they've learned lessons from what happened last tuesday? >> people are still getting over their hangovers, so i think it's early days yet. this is a discussion we have to have. there's a bit of a tendency to say, look, it came down to a few votes in a few swing states, and if we do this for the hispanics, then we'll be fine. i don't think republicans have absorbed enough. it's not been fine for a long time. the last time that the republicans won a p majority of the vote was 2004. the last time before that was 1988. this is a party that is having trouble connecting with the new american majority. >> it's a party that has not looked at the demographics. it's not looked at the changing society as well. it's not just the economic message. they're not looking at population changes. >> no. here's what i worry about. i worry that there are a lot of upper class republicans who are willing to say if we combine our existing economic message with a
new line on immigration, we're done. it's all good. the point is, why should mexican-americans vote republican? mexican-americans as a group are poorer than normal, and immigration is a threshold issue and obviously you shouldn't insult people and refrain from treating them with dishe respect. after they say, okay, you're no longer insulting me, now make your case, if you have a group twice as likely to be without health insurance and our answer is we intend to actually remove health insurance from people to whom it's been promised. thank you for not insulting me, but i don't see what you're o offering me. the economic message is vital, and it's -- the emphasis on the immigration debate is a sign of whole the american upper class, democrat and republican and media and politics has moved away from where the country is. the vast majority of americans, which recession that continued in 2009, continues. >> david from. so there will be a great deal of
self-examination. >> i hope. >> the question is whether people really do look at first principles? >> what we need to start with where the country is. we need to run to lead the country as it is, not as it was. i was joking today on the radio with somebody that when i was young, if somebody came up and said vote republican because tom dewey was a hell of a guy, woint have responded. we're as far away from ronald ag as my generation of republicans was from tom dewey 30 and more years ago. talk to the country as it is now. >> david from, thank you as always. we'll be right back. new prilosec otc wildberry
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that does it for this edition of andrea mitchell. my colleague tamron hall as a look at what's next on "news nation." in the next hour, will he testify over benghazi? that's what everyone is wondering regarding general david petraeus after the shocking resignation we all witnessed on friday and the gop now showing signs it is ready to compromise on immigration
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